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Choosing the right router for SMBs and SOHOs

Nurdianah Md Nur | Nov. 5, 2015
Jai Thampi of Belkin Inc provides tips on what SMBs and SOHOs should consider before purchasing a router.

We  recommend small businesses to consider purchasing networking hardware that are built for small office environments, instead of using consumer grade routers that don't offer all the features that are suited for small business environments.

Meanwhile, SOHOs should use the latest wireless technology available such as the Wireless-AC (AC1200) at the bare minimum, and up to Mu-MIMO Wireless-AC wave 2.  Having this latest technology will help to ensure the home office provides enough performance for all the work related activity, while still providing connectivity to devices in the home including home automation solutions, TVs and even game stations.

How have routers for SOHOs and SMBs evolved over the years? What are some of the new improvements in such routers that we should take note of?
Routers have evolved rapidly. They were brought to market for the consumer space in 1999 with the Linksys BEFSR11, and then wireless in 2001 with Wireless-B technology (11Mpbs). Today, routers are shipping with Wireless-AC technology that provides speeds of over 1 Gigabit per second, which is faster than a wired connection. The technology has also advanced to include multiple radios in the router - up to 3 radios - so the speeds can get faster and more devices can connect. There are also faster processors (up to 1.8Ghz) and more memory up to 512 MB DDR3 RAM.  There are also more sophisticated antenna arrays on routers as well as new designs. 

What are the top three common router problems faced by SMBs and SOHOs? What should SMBs and SOHOs consider when choosing a router?
The three top common problems faced by SMBs and SOHOs are as follows:

1.       Choosing the right router for their environment.  Small offices are purchasing the cheapest router just to get connectivity in their office, instead of considering all the needs of the office to get the right router for that environment.

2.       Customers are not using all the features that routers provide for them. If they are using a router at home - they should considering using quality of service (QoS) feature which lets them prioritise their devices to get bandwidth first.  This is ideal for home environments where the work from home parent can ensure he/she is getting internet connectivity to their laptop or VoIP before their kids on the Xbox.

3.       Customers are not investing today for future growth. Customers are looking to solve problems today, but are not looking ahead for what they may need two to three years from now.  Considering options such as need for VPN or POE or a Router/AP combo will save money down the road plus provide best performance over time.


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